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Arthropod Syst Phylogeny. 2014 Dec 19;72(3):309-329.

Cryptic diversity of caddisflies in the Balkans: the curious case of Ecclisopteryx species (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae).

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Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Rooseveltov trg 6, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia.
Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Max Emanuel-Strasse 17, A-1180 Vienna, Austria.
Department of Limnology & Bio-Oceanography, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.
Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (LOEWE BiK-F), Senckenberganlage 25, D-60325 Frankfurt a.M., Germany.
Hungarian Department of Biology and Ecology, Babeş-Bolyai University, Clinicilor 5 - 7, 400006 Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
Contributed equally


Adults and larvae of two new cryptic, endemic caddisflies, Ecclisopteryx keroveci sp.n. and Ecclisopteryx ivkae sp.n., are described and illustrated from the Western Balkans. Phylogenetic analysis (Bayesian MCMCMC) and association of different life history stages in both cryptic species were achieved through comparison of morphological characters and mitochondrial (mtCOI and mtLSU) and nuclear (nuWG) gene sequence data. The new species form a sister clade to the widely distributed E. dalecarlica and E. guttulata, with which they were formerly misidentified. Adults differ from each other and other species in the genus by the uniquely shaped inferior appendages in males and segment X in females. The larvae differ from each other and their congeners in the shape of the pronotum, and presence and constitution of additional spines on the parietalia. Larvae of both species are grazers and prefer stony substrate. Ecclisopteryx keroveci sp.n. has a wide distribution in the Western Balkans, while E. ivkae sp.n. is endemic to Dalmatia. Our findings demonstrate the significance of the Western Balkans as a freshwater biodiversity hotspot, and accentuate the importance of research focused on freshwater biodiversity and biogeography in southern Europe.


Biodiversity; Drusinae; adult morphology; larval morphology; phylogeny

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